Hillary Clinton’s email server isn’t the only thing related to a presidential candidate under FBI scrutiny. NBC reported federal investigators are looking into former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort’s foreign business connections.
Manafort resigned from Republican Donald Trump’s campaign in August amid reports he had been a key player in multimillion-dollar business deals with Russian and Ukranian oligarchs, among them a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Throughout the campaign, Trump has praised Putin and taken a number of positions far outside the political mainstream, including refusing to accept intelligence community assessments that Russia has been involved in email hacking designed to influence the election.
NBC said the Manafort inquiry has not yet risen to the level of a criminal investigation. Manafort said he is unaware of any investigation, telling NBC has no ties to Putin nor any dealings with the Russian government. He said the reported investigation is just “Democratic propaganda” aimed at deflecting attention from Clinton’s email server woes.
The Clinton campaign scurried to shore up support Monday following FBI Director James Comey’s revelation Friday that the FBI had reopened the investigation into Clinton’s private email server. The investigation was restarted because of emails found on a computer belonging to disgraced former New York Congressman Anthony Weiner, who is under investigation for allegedly sexting an underage North Carolina girl. Huma Abedin, Weiner’s estranged wife, is a close aide to Clinton.
"Americans have every right to be concerned about what they see in terms of Trump advisers and their closeness with the Kremlin, Trump's policies vis-a-vis Russia, Trump's potential financial interest, all of those things ought to be of deep concern to voters," Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., told NBC.
The New York Times reported in August Manafort was paid $12.7 million for representing pro-Russia former Ukranian President Viktor Yanukovych. Ledgers disclosing the cash payments were uncovered by Ukraine’s National Anti-Corruption Bureau, but it was unclear if Manafort actually received the cash. Manafort’s attorney denied the former campaign manager had received the payments.
Among the transactions detailed by the ledgers was an $18 million deal Manafort and Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, who is reputed to have ties to organized crime, put together to sell Ukranian cable television assets.
Manafort has been an international consultant since he went to work in the 1980s for former Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos. However, he never has registered as a foreign agent with the Justice Department.